When I first came to Germany I noticed right away that the beer tasted different than in the States. It tasted clean and fresh, with good hop character and a tasty malt profile. While traveling through Belgium and the Netherlands I've noticed that the Belgian style beers either taste the way they do in the States or a little different.
In the States the dominant character of Belgian beer in my mind is the yeast. It adds all the esters, light fusals, phenols, and the typical bready flavor. What I wasn't ready for when I tried my first fresh Belgian beer is that the hops are very forward in most styles. They're bitter! Also the lack of aging allows fresh malt character I'm not used to in a Belgian beer.
To tell the truth, I like the aged Belgian beers that I get in the States compared to the same product only a few weeks old. And that leads me to my question if anyone is still reading this beer blog:
How do you store your beer? Why do you celler beer? What kinds of beer do you celler and what do you think it'll achieve? What's your oldest beer? Will you invite me over to drink your oldest beer?
I've been in the school of thought that beer should be drank fresh and only Lambics should be aged. However, two of my favorite Belgian beers, Westmalle's tripel and dubbel, I can say taste far better a little old.